May 22, 2016

Here's What You Need to Remember when Lighting a Green Screen

If you're going to be working with green screen in the near future, one of the most important things you're going to want to learn is how to light it.

In the tutorial below, B&H gives you several tips on how to light a green screen, as well as how to correct mistakes in post.

Even though there's more to pulling off a good key than lighting it correctly, like picking the right chroma color, exposure, and compression, it's definitely one of the most crucial parts. Without an evenly light green screen, you can pretty much say goodbye to the prospect of producing a professional looking image.

So, when it comes to lighting, keep these things in mind:

  • Your green screen must be smooth, clean, and wrinkle-free.
  • Properly expose your green screen (but don't go past 50% IRE on a waveform monitor).
  • Put distance between the green screen and your subject so you can light both separately and avoid color spill.
  • Light your subject for the background they'll be standing in front of. (Don't light them the way you would for an indoor shot if you're going to be putting them in front of a Hawaiian beach background.)
  • Use apps to help you pull a better key. (Green Screener is a good one for seeing how even your screen is.)
  • Don't try to "fix it in post."
  • If you do have to "fix it it post," learn methods that will help you correct the mistakes you made while shooting (i.e. become a color correction magician).

Shooting on a green screen can be a pretty simple and straightforward process. Just remember that lighting your screen evenly will help you avoid the things that are actually difficult and time-consuming, like color correcting an unevenly lit green screen in post!      

Your Comment

5 Comments

There are a few things that can make your green screen life a whole lot easier. Using a neoprene Digi-green will save you hours. Its stretchy and so saturated and reflective that a lot of the time the ambience in your set will be enough to have it lit. If your using an old cotton green screen your already behind. green saturation is most important. Use green tubes on your lights to saturate the green screen while not adding greens and blues to it.

May 22, 2016 at 6:26PM

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Nathan T
DP
87

Helpful.

Thanks

May 23, 2016 at 4:08AM

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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
585

The best method for a clean key is light on the screen most important. Separation of the talent from the screen is the best way to keep bleed off from occurring. However I've worked on tight "portable" setups where this is difficult. In these cases, I suggest two 300's (or stronger depending on your needs) with magenta gels (this is key, pun intended) set behind the talent facing the talent. This will help wash off any green spill on their hair / shoulders / halo.

May 24, 2016 at 3:16PM

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Stray Angel had a tip that is very useful not mentioned here, gel the lights illuminating the greenscreen with a green gel, it makes the green screen really vibrant and key-able.

https://youtu.be/hVss0eT0im8?t=107

June 3, 2016 at 1:15AM

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Yes that's great if you have that Arri light, but what about placing a light green clear plastic sleeve over the LED lights, do you think knthia will have a similar effect?

February 25, 2017 at 4:10PM

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